A lively tradition of provincial Mexican religious art has existed from the Spanish colonial period through the present day. The subject of this devotional image, rendered in the popular medium of painted tin, also appeared in more formal colonial Mexican altar paintings. Perched on the tips of the fingers of a detached hand, Christ appears flanked by his parents and his grandparents, Anna and Joachim. The symbol of the hand, deriving from the European cult of Saint Anne, also bears the wound of the stigmata in reference both to the Crucifixion and to the life of Saint Francis; the seven lambs, drinking here from the chalice of Christ's blood, derive from the Book of Revelations.
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Mexican. Mano Poderosa (The All-Powerful Hand), or Las Cinco Personas (The Five Persons), 19th century. Oil on metal (possibly tin-plated iron), 13 7/8 x 10 1/16 in. (35.2 x 25.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1944, Purchased with funds given by the estate of Warren S.M. Mead, 44.195.24
Museum Expedition 1944, Purchased with funds given by the estate of Warren S.M. Mead